Back in July, Taylor Swift was exposed as the celebrity with the worst private jet CO2 emissions this year, with an average flight time of just 80 minutes.
The report came after Kylie Jenner sparked backlash and was branded a “full time climate criminal” after her constant, super short flights on Kylie Air were exposed.
As the outrage grew, sustainability-driven digital marketing agency Yard released a report that revealed that Kylie didn’t even make the top 10 list of celebrities causing environmental damage with their planes.
In fact, Taylor had racked up more emissions on her two jets in just seven months than 1,184 average people would put out in a year.
As of July 20, the singer’s planes had taken 170 flights in 2022, with their total CO2 emissions being 8,293.54 metric tons in just 200 days.
For perspective, Taylor’s usage was so high that she emitted over 1,000 metric tons more CO2 than the celebrity who placed second on the list, Floyd Mayweather.
According to Yard's report, an average person emits just 7 metric tons of CO2 a year.
Taylor’s shortest recorded flight at the time was just 36 minutes, when her jet flew from Missouri to Nashville.
People heavily criticized the pop star following the report, with many struggling to understand how she could have possibly taken so many flights in such a short space of time.
Others pointed out that she is known to travel a lot, with one person writing on Reddit: “She travels so much. she has homes in London, New York, Nashville, and LA. In the past few weeks, she’s been in the Bahamas on vacation, London with Haim, and the US for Selena Gomez’s birthday. And that’s just publicly.”
They later added that Taylor has a home in Rhode Island as well.
Someone else summarized the backlash when they wrote: “She has 8.2k tons of CO2 emissions due to her flying this year … that’s 1.2k more than the next person closest on the list, and 5k tons more than people lower tiered on the list … holy shit Taylor STAY HOME. 170 flights just this year! she has a squeaky clean image, but this is excess to a fucking insane and unbelievable degree. I’m a fan but shit.”
Before long, Taylor’s representative responded to the report and attempted to refute the fact that she was solely responsible for all of the emissions being attributed to her.
Her spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals. To attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect."
But this response only ended up making matters worse, with people accusing Taylor of trying to dodge accountability as they pointed out that whether or not she was on the planes is beside the point.
“I don't care who’s on the plane, it shouldn't be making all those flights and producing all those emissions,” one comment read. “If you own it, you're responsible for it. They should all be flying commercial (and flying less).”
“What a dumb excuse,” someone else wrote. “She’s still facilitating these assaults on the environment. She’s still responsible, nice try.”
The statement also sparked ridicule on social media, with Taylor being called out for trying to “put a humanitarian spin” on the damage her planes had caused to the environment.
“You’ve really gotta hand it to taylor swift’s publicist bc ‘she generously rents out her jet for her poorer friends who can’t afford their own personal jets to use’ is the funniest possible way to put a humanitarian spin on her carbon emissions,” one viral tweet read.
“What a tough life. Helped her friends life out is so admirable,” another person sarcastically replied.
Someone else responded: “Why would you expect anything less from a narcissist? She can never take blame for anything.”
Another Twitter user quote tweeted the original and added: “Ya ever notice that everytime something shitty comes out about TSwift an army of publicists emerge and try and change the narrative that we’ve all been mislead and she’s in fact generous and kind?”
Taylor did not publicly address this discourse at the time, but more than three months later she might have referenced it in her new single, “Anti-Hero,” which was released last week.
In case you missed it, Taylor’s 10th studio album Midnightscame out on Friday, and fans have been scrambling to analyze her lyrics ever since.
“Anti-Hero” has received particular attention as the album’s lead single, with Taylor previously explaining that writing it served as a form of extreme self-reflection.
“I really don’t think I’ve delved this far into my insecurities in this detail before,” she said in an Instagram video. “This song really is a real guided tour through all the things I tend to hate about myself; we all hate things about ourselves.”
And the lyrics are incredibly telling, with Taylor embracing self-deprecation in the catchy chorus that repeats: “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.”
Throughout the song, Taylor references what she perceives to be her flaws; including getting older but never wiser, and feeling like “a monster on the hill” who is surrounded by people who are younger and sexier than she is.
And there is one telltale line that can be directly linked to the backlash that her publicist’s CO2 emissions response triggered, with Taylor acknowledging that she often attempts to spin her narcissistic behavior into something that is viewed as altruistic.
“Did you hear my covert narcissism I disguise as altruism like some kind of congressman?” she asks listeners.
While this lyric probably relates to a number of situations in Taylor’s life, it’s not difficult to see the connection to her being accused of putting an altruistic spin on her excessive private jet usage.
Taylor has been known to make last-minute changes to songs and tracklists before releasing new music. In fact, one of her most famous songs, "Love Story" was a very last-minute addition to the album, Fearless, as was "Forever & Always" about a certain Mr. Joe Jonas. This makes the notion that she may have added the lyric after the backlash entirely plausible.
In fact, unlike her previous two albums, Folklore and Evermore, which explored stories from other people's perspectives, Taylor has revealed that Midnights is some of her most confessional work in recent years.
Speaking on The Tonight Show on Monday, Taylor told host Jimmy Fallon that she was feeling “very soft and fragile” following the release because it is her “first directly autobiographical album in a while.”
Elsewhere in Midnights, Taylor offers fans even more insight into her relationship with her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, and how their relationship came to be.
She also makes references to her famous celebrity feuds, having suffered very public fallouts with the likes of Kanye West and Scooter Braun in the past.
While most people may have missed this particular “Anti-Hero” reference, the song is still enjoying huge success and on track to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 this week.
And needless to say, I can't wait to discover the other clever hidden messages that are buried throughout Midnights.